The Broderite argument against politics in the United States Senate, at least when it comes to judicial confirmation hearings, has now been made by the man himself:
Both these senators decry the growing role of interest groups that lobby on judicial confirmations. Both have defied those pressures, Leahy in voting for Roberts and Graham in being the lone Republican to support Sotomayor in this week’s vote.
“I pointed out that Roberts was not someone I would have recommended to Bill Clinton or Barack Obama,” Leahy said, “but I did not want to see the chief justice of the United States confirmed on a party-line vote.”
Graham took the same stance on Sotomayor, saying he expected to disagree with many of her rulings, but gave great deference to Obama’s choice because “elections make a difference” and she is “clearly qualified.” He said he hoped it would serve as an example to Democrats the next time a Republican president makes a nomination.
If their examples spread, we might avert the ugly partisanship of recent confirmation fights.
What he doesn’t do is explain exactly why it’s a bad thing if Senators vote against judges who have a different constitutional philosophy. For those of us who don’t see “partisan” as a pejorative term, what exactly is the argument?